© Cranborne Chase AONB
Dark skies and stargazing events What's on in Dorset?
A choice of star-studded events take place in dazzling stargazing locations across Dorset when the conditions are right and the weather permits!
An astronomy observatory is located within the nature reserve, close to the coast path at Durlston Country Park, Swanage. This great facility enables you to enjoy the use of an observatory through bookable events and sessions organised for groups and run by keen astronomers from the Wessex Astronomical Society. The sessions usually include talks in their learning centre and the opportunity to observe the night sky using a range of different telescopes. The sessions will resume in Spring 2022 so look out for them and book early using the Durlston Country Park website. Durlston Country Park can also be accessed at night for stargazing or astrophotography when the observatory is not running events.
A don’t miss the annual winter event Star Fest – the Dark Skies Festival where you can learn more and participate in beginner’s astronomy. This festival is run by Cranborne Chase AONB Chasing Skies team. The week-long festival includes stargazing in the evening, family-friendly workshops and space themed actives for children, the full programme and online booking will soon be available on their website, many of the events are free.
Stargazing and Planet Hunting
The Parks Foundation (for Bournemouth Poole and Christchurch in Dorset) run occasional Stargazing and Planet Hunting events led by an astronomer. The events are held within their parks including an event this November in Winton Park in Bournemouth.
Some campsites will also be running stargazing events, don’t miss an opportunity to join in the fun during your stay.
As well as stargazing events there are also other activities, including bat walks, badger watching and moth capturing. You'll be amazed to learn about the huge range of different things that you can see and participate in for more information visit our Dark Skies activities page.
Don't miss these celestial events
Autumn and winter astronomy calendar
4th: New Moon
7th, 8th: Crescent Moon near Venus in evening sky
10th, 11th: Mercury near Mars in dawn sky
16th-20th: Leonid meteor shower active
17th/18th: Peak of Leonid meteor shower
19th Full Moon
4th: New Moon
7th-17th: Geminids meteor shower active
13th/14th: Peak of Geminids meteor shower
19th: Full Moon